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   RE: [xml-dev] Xml is _not_ self describing

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Title: RE: [xml-dev] Xml is _not_ self describing

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nicolas Lehuen [mailto:nicolas.lehuen@ubicco.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2002 9:25 AM
> To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org; Elliotte Rusty Harold
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Xml is _not_ self describing

> However, I don't think it is sensible to tell that an XML
> file with unknown
> or foreign tag names is more interesting than a CSV file
> without headers.
> You get more information, because provided that you notice the pointy
> bracket and find out that some series of characters
> surrounded by <> or </>
> match, you can build a hierarchical model. But more
> information does not
> means more meaning. There is no magic thing in XML that will
> give you the
> *meaning* of the hierarchical relation, or of the data
> embedded inside the
> tags, contrary to what the public can believe when hearing the term
> "self-describing". That was the point of this "Xml is _not_
> self-describing"
> thread : beware of the magic connotations of "self-describing".
> Regards,
> Nicolas

I agree that most of the meaning of an XML document is external to the
document, you need a frame of reference. However using namespaces and
common schemas we can provide the reference. For example if I see

<EncryptedData xmlns='http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmlenc#'        Type='http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmlenc#Content'>

I know that this is encrypted content. Similarly with a SOAP message
the SOAP elements have meaning with the SOAP frame of reference. I think
that having common frames of reference is one advantage of XML
over CSV.


Rob Griffin
Quest Software

E-mail: Rob.Griffin@oz.quest.com
Web site: http://www.quest.com 


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